the burden of knowledge

Sometimes, I wish I wasn’t a feminist.

I wish that I could bury myself in ignorance and apathy. That I could pretend that the world’s injustices neither matter to me nor touch me at all. That I don’t care that we live in a patriarchal rape culture that systematically devalues women (among many other marginalized groups). But I can’t. I want better for myself. I want better for everyone. And now, more than ever, I want better for my daughter. 

I wasn’t surprised when the ultrasound tech told us that our baby was a girl. For the entirety of my pregnancy, I had been telling everyone who would listen that exact thing. “I have absolutely nothing to back this up, but I am convinced that it is a girl.” With the confirmation, though, came an almost immediate, suffocating tidal wave of terror.

We are having a girl.

Oh God, we are having a girl.

Oh God, how am I ever going to prepare my daughter for the world that we are bringing her into?

The wage gap. Catcalling. Brock Turner. Donald Trump. I looked around me and saw monsters around every corner, in every closet, under every bed. I wanted to curl my arms around my belly and tell my daughter to stay in utero forever, where she’d be safe. Where I could keep her safe.

Because the fact of the matter is that I have no idea how I am going to prepare her for this world. I don’t know how to prepare myself for this world most days. For the crushing despair that I feel on an almost daily basis just when I open my social media accounts. How am I ever going to raise her to believe that she breathes fire when the society that we live in is so hellbent on keeping her small? I want my girl to be fierce. Unafraid. Powerful. I want her to have every opportunity in the world, to go through life believing that there is no one more capable than she is. It would be so much easier if I could look around at the world and shrug. Oh well, that’s just the way the world is, it is just something we have to deal with.

I refuse to accept the world the way it is; I know better than that. I won’t raise my daughter to accept it either.

I guess that is all I can do. Teach her not to accept the status quo. Teach her to use her voice. To be big. To take up space. To make the world a better place than she found it. A better place than we made for her. And that I’ll be right there beside her, doing the same.

I have a few ideas for this that I am already bandying about with a friend. I will let you know if and when something more concrete blossoms into existence. In the meantime, tell me, what do you do to make the world around you seem a little less bleak? (Especially in times like these, when the darkest timeline seems to have come true and Donald freaking Trump is the next president of the so-called “greatest” country in the world.)

the burden of knowledge